Weapons-fair CANCELLED

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Sep 6 2008 16:32
Weapons-fair CANCELLED

http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,24306242-5006301,00.html

Quote:
A MAJOR defence expo due to start in Adelaide on Remembrance Day has been cancelled amid fears of violence by radical protest groups.
Organisers of the Asia-Pacific Defence and Security Exhibition made the decision after talks with the State Government and police over planned protest action against the three-day event.

In recent weeks, police have given the Government several confidential briefings on the scale of the planned protests – including the participation of an ultra-radical group responsible for violence at last year's APEC meeting in Sydney – and the cost of the huge police operation to counter them.

Acting Premier Kevin Foley said yesterday the Government had full confidence in police to manage "these feral anarchists that would be descending on Adelaide" if the event, at the Convention Centre, had proceeded.

"However, the organisers had to take into account a number of factors, ranging from security issues as well as the level of support from the Defence Department," he said, also labelling the protesters "feral low-lifes".

"We had to weigh up a number of factors and the decision was taken that the cost of security, the possible threats of violence, were risks that on balance the organisers of the event and the Government agreed were not worth proceeding with."

Mr Foley said the decision should not be seen as a "victory" for the protest groups because the contacts with manufacturers made so far would be followed up.

The APDSE – an armaments trade fair – was to be held from November 11-13. The fair was part of a concerted push by the State Government to sell South Australia to the rest of the world as a defence state.

The executive director of APDS Exhibition Ltd, Phil Guy, yesterday confirmed the discussions with the Government and police leading up to the decision.

"The major issues discussed revolve around public safety, security risk levels and increased costs, plus the Commonwealth's failure to support the event," Mr Guy said.

"Earlier this week, SAPOL advised the Government and APDS about issues of public order and security leading up to and during the event.

"Police advise that the APDS exhibition is being targeted by highly organised and violent protesters with a history of focusing on similar defence and security events."

Sources said the State Government was alerted to the scale of the protests several weeks ago.

Police then briefed the Government's Emergency Management Committee on August 28. It is understood further meetings were held between the Premier's office and senior police this week which resulted in the discussions with organisers.

Mr Foley was critical of the protest groups, particularly those who resorted to violence.

"These are feral, low-life people that want society to be in a state of near anarchy for their own perverse pleasure," he said.

"Let's not mince words here. People who say they are anti-war but resort to violence and destruction to put their case are clearly a bunch of people who are dangerous to society.

"These are just anarchists that enjoy disrupting civil society. They do not have one fig of credibility."

Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Burns yesterday declined to comment, but police sources said senior officers had detailed to the Government the expected scope of the protests – around 500 protesters – and the "strong" likelihood of violence erupting.

The size and cost of the police operation was also detailed, along with assessments concerning public safety risks and disruption to the city over the period.

SAPOL's Protective Security Service command had been planning a massive security operation involving almost 500 police to control the protests.

All annual leave for police had been cancelled a month ago for the week of the operation and those involved were having their riot training updated.

It is known police had received accurate intelligence on the protesters who would attend, including members of the ultra-militant protest group Mutiny.

Mutiny, and another group called Arterial Bloc, were behind the violence at last year's APEC meeting in Sydney and the G20 meeting in Melbourne in 2006.

Many other protest groups have been attempting to rally support for their cause in recent weeks by dropping pamphlets at various events in the city.

Prior to the event being cancelled, peace activist Jacob Grech from OzPeace told the Sunday Mail he anticipated "around 500" protesters at the event.

Mr Grech organised similar protests at Canberra's AIDEX events in 1989 and 1991. The violence at the 1991 event resulted in a third defence expo planned for 1993 being cancelled.

He said plans were under way for several busloads of protesters to travel from Melbourne and Sydney and many had intended making their own way to Adelaide.

"We have a policy of non-violent direct action," he said. However, Mr Grech confirmed members of the militant Mutiny group were also planning to attend.

"I have heard some of them will be coming down from Sydney, but again the nature of the protest is going to be non-violent as far as we can determine," he said.

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Sep 6 2008 22:53

Nice.

Some great quotes in there, espec:

Quote:
"These are feral, low-life people that want society to be in a state of near anarchy for their own perverse pleasure," he said.
yuda
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Sep 6 2008 23:14

There's a certain irony when people who's job it is to sell more efficient killing machines complaining that the protesters are violent

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Sep 7 2008 15:46
Quote:
"These are feral, low-life people that want society to be in a state of near anarchy for their own perverse pleasure," he said.

Can't they get it right? We want society to be in a state of total anarchy, for the perverse pleasure of all!

A victory though. The whole, scaring the police into believing security will cost too much works like a charm, go mutiny.

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Sep 7 2008 18:29

It's funny too, this Mutiny bogeyman thats been created over the last few years, through G20, APEC, that Cheney demo etc (and I guess perhaps even stretching back to Forbes in '05). Its so unrealistic compared to who Mutiny actually are and what they actually do.

princess mob
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Sep 7 2008 21:57
Asher wrote:
It's funny too, this Mutiny bogeyman thats been created over the last few years, through G20, APEC, that Cheney demo etc (and I guess perhaps even stretching back to Forbes in '05). Its so unrealistic compared to who Mutiny actually are and what they actually do.

hey, shhhhh....

I mean, I agree, though it was funny how the rubbish was a little bit useful this time, at least to have a scapegoat for their fear of a big militant protest.

I guess that means we have to cancel the plane we'd booked for the international black bloc movement from new zealand.

[that's a joke.]

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Sep 7 2008 23:26
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I guess that means we have to cancel the plane we'd booked for the international black bloc movement from new zealand.

Just don't tell Mick Armstrong tongue

princess mob
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Sep 21 2008 03:58

I guess it's old news now, but here's a statement from some 'feral anarchists' on the cancellation of the arms fair, from the latest issue of the mutiny zine

(The threat of) mass direct action gets the goods:
Mutiny statement on the cancelled war fair

When people first started talking about shutting down the APDSE (Asia Pacific Defence and Security Exhibition), which was to be held in Adelaide from November 11, it seemed like an almost impossible task. Now they've announced that they've called it off! And they called it off because of fears of protests from 'feral anarchists', including 'the ultra-militant protest group Mutiny.'

It's obvious that this victory really had very little to do with us. The arms fair was called off because of the hard work of many people organising against it. The South Australian government wasn't scared of our small collective: they were scared of disruption from the large, militant demonstration and blockade that was being planned. It's obvious that an arms fair isn't going to be popular. The state and the capitalist media aren't really fooling anyone when they call their weapons festival 'defence' & our plans to stand in its way 'violence'.

It's clear that when the acting SA premier talked about 'feral, low-life people,' who are 'dangerous to society,' he was talking about everyone who was planning to protest the arms fair. He was trying to insult and isolate everyone involved in grass roots organising: those who would have chosen to blockade, as well as those whose understanding of 'non-violence' would have led them to less direct forms of protest.

We see similarities between his use of the usual clichés to denounce the entire protest and how, in the past, certain protest groups have condemned others who do not strictly follow their ideas of what a protest should be. The strength of any mass protest is our ability to work together with a variety of tactics, & no group gains the right to dictate what behaviour is appropriate simply by calling themselves 'non-violent'.

We hope that next time there's such a public media attack on 'violent protesters' others will remember that it's an attack on them too, and will stand in solidarity with those targeted rather than seeking 'respectability' by distancing themselves (or by joining in the attack).

We shut down the arms fair before it happened because it was clear that there was going to be a public and disruptive refusal to tolerate it, and that this was part of a broad opposition to the arms fair.

The cancellation of the arms fair showed clearly the power of shared intent & respect for a diversity of tactics. It was a victory because people who wanted to physically blockade the conference site refused to be excluded by debates about 'non-violence', but insisted that standing in the way of this arms fair was the right thing to do.

Mutiny was merely a scapegoat for the decision to shut it down. However, the successful protest planning - and the victory it won us all - makes us feel that, even though it has made us a target for police attention and unwanted publicity over the past few years, our decision to talk openly about the politics of militant direct action has been worth something.

Mutiny, September 2008

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Sep 21 2008 06:03

I can't get over the threat that is presented by Mutiny to this whole thing. Haha. It's amazing. Anything that goes on in Australia, just whisper Mutiny and the state will shit their pants. It's incredible! haha

kuro
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Sep 21 2008 11:40

I heard through the grapevine this is moving up to Brisbane?

princess mob
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Sep 24 2008 04:54
kuro wrote:
I heard through the grapevine this is moving up to Brisbane?

Not an arms fair, as far as I've heard. There's a 'land warfare conference' being held in Brisbane the last week of October, & I think some people are trying to shift the organising that was happening around the arms fair to that, but I'm not sure how much momentum there is.

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With Sober Senses
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Sep 24 2008 14:23

Hey all. As for as I know organising is just starting in brisbane. There should be a call out published in a few days

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Oct 6 2008 11:19

Is there really someone going down in brissy for this other arms expo?